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Are you ready for some gridlock? AEG's stadium relies heavily on public transportation

By Jose Martinez
Published: Friday, April 06, 2012, at 10:49AM
downtown traffic Rain/Flickr Creative Commons

AEG's stadium proposal assumes that nearly a fourth of fans will leave their cars at home and use public transportation. (Credit: Rain/Flickr Creative Commons)

The stadium proposal put forth by Anschultz Entertainment Group (AEG) would require a tiny change in behavior from L.A. football fans: 25 percent of fans would need to come without a car on weekdays.

Sorry, did we say tiny?

The Los Angeles Times reports that AEG's proposal depends on a fourth of fans leaving theirs cars at home and taking public transportation. The firm, which expects 19,000 cars to flood downtown for games at the not-yet-approved Farmers Field, is hoping to convince ticket buyers to travel on the Metro Blue Line, the Expo Line (which will be opening at the end of this month) and other methods of public transportation.

But Los Angeles has a well-known reputation as a car town – which is why AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke's confidence that 5,000 or more ticket buyers would walk or bike to weekday evening games was more than a little surprising.

"We have to change people's habits from the day they buy their first ticket to Farmers Field," he told the Times.

The environmental impact report for the stadium was released on Thursday, and it assumes that upwards of 18 percent of ticket buyers will show up at weekend events without their cars. For weekday games, that goes up to 27 percent.

Skeptics include Victor Citrin, a downtown resident who spoke with the L.A. Times.

"This is Los Angeles," he said. "This city was built around the car. For somebody to come here from Buena Park on public transit – I don't think it's going to happen."

But Ryan Snyder, a transportation planning consultant and a lecturer at UCLA, said he's "willing to believe those numbers" and hopes that AEG focuses less on freeway improvements and more on bus-only lanes on roads leading to the stadium.

The proposed stadium site is close to the already-notorious 10 and 110 freeway junction. But Leiweke said AEG will incentivize public transit use by giving ticket buyers discounts and maybe even bumping them up in line.

AEG has $35 million allotted toward planned transportation improvements, $10 million of which will upgrade the Blue Line station on nearby Pico Boulevard. The Times reports another $2.4 million will go toward adding a lane on the northbound 101 freeway between the downtown four-level interchange and Alvarado Street.

The numbers in the report are daunting, though. After Saturday games, for example, "unavoidable" congestion would be felt at 42 intersections – that would go up to 72 for weekday games.

"No feasible physical improvement mitigation measures were identified for these impacts," read the report.

AEG is hoping for a City Council vote of approval by the end of summer. Billionaire Philip Anschultz's dollars are helping to fuel AEG's drive to get the stadium approved – he has said he's willing to pay for a football team in Los Angeles if it will make the stadium deal work.

Photo by Rain via Flickr Creative Commons.

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